Frankly, Lake Francis is fun
For more than a year and a half, operators of Lake Francis Resort near Dobbins quietly upgraded their infrastructure and expanded their facilities.
The pressures of people wanting to escape for the week, weekend or even for a few hours in a day prompted resort owners to provide more foothill recreation opportunities.
“We've been gradually upgrading everything as we go,” said Tim Wilkinson, executive director of Environmental Alternatives, which owns and operates the Lake Francis concession, including campsites and a summer youth camp. “We tried to make it a multi-use facility.”
Environmental Alternatives, based in Quincy, is an organization that provides services for families with foster children. Every dollar spent at the resort goes right back into the youth program, Wilkinson said.
The resort was built in the early 1960s, but Environmental Alternatives took over the site about five years ago, according to Tiffany Strickland, director of Camp Rockin U, the resort's youth camp.
The lake itself is operated and managed by the Yuba County Water Agency.
In the last 18 months, resort managers invested several hundred thousand dollars in the resort for improvements, Wilkinson said. For example, the organization has added six new deluxe cabins for a total of eight. Each cabin has two bedrooms and one bathroom.
The resort also has about 50 spots for recreation vehicles and another 40 sites for tents.
The resort has new bathhouses in the camp area, and crews have redone the athletic field so the resort now has regulation-size softball and soccer fields, Wilkinson said.
“It's worked out really nice,” he said.
For those not interested in ball games, the resort also rents out non-motorized boats, such as paddleboats, row boats and canoes.
The resort is open year-round, even for the holidays.
Because of the demand for summer activities, Camp Rockin U will expand its summer camp season from eight weeks to 10, he said, which could serve about 1,000 children.
“Word's gotten out that we're a reasonable summer camp,” he said. The camp expanded the number of children they can accept per session, from about 80 to 104 with the addition of four new camp cabins.
The resort can also host company or church retreats, or programs for men or women's groups, he said.
They resort caters to individual families, as well. Currently, a family of four can stay in one of the two-bedroom cabins for a weekend and receive five meals per person for $329, Wilkinson said.
“For the family that doesn't want to camp outdoors, it's a great feature,” he said.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Daniel Witter can be reached at 749-4712. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.